Archive | May, 2014

End of Spring Mix Tape

29 May

If I had to list my three biggest media addictions of Spring 2014, they would be graphic novels, Bollywood films, and new music. After not really buying much in the way of music the past few years, I went a little wild this spring. Here are some of my recent favorites from said purchases. Happy listening!

Girls Chase Boys – Ingrid Michaelson
This song is super catchy and I love watching the quirky dance moves. I especially love how the guy to the left of Michaelson looks like he really wants to get down, but he holds it in until the end when they finally get to let loose.

MFN – Cibo Matto
From Hotel Valentine, their first album release since 1999 (what?!), comes this and plenty of other fantastic and fun songs. Remember when they used to inspire sexy dancing in The Bronze? Oh the good old days. I’m sure the Scoobies would get down to this track as well.

La La La (Brazil 2014) – Shakira
Just in time for the 2014 World Cup, Shakira has released a new version of a song from her self-titled 2014 album with lyrics changed to be more soccer-y and worldly (e.g. “Now here we are. You rock it.” becomes “Hear the whistle. Kick the ball.”). The music video features her baby daddy, Pique, and several other futbol stars lip-synching along, as well as her baby, Milan, playing futbol with an elephant (cute!). The original song was my favorite track off her latest album and I have to say the soccer player eye candy doesn’t hurt. Watch out though, this song is a major earworm.

Love Is The Answer – Aloe Blacc
While “The Man” is the biggest hit (thus far) off Aloe Blacc’s Lift Your Spirit, this is by far my favorite track off the album.

Holding On For Life – Broken Bells
After the Disco is one of my favorite new albums of the year and Holding On For Life is one of my favorite tracks. The music video features scenes from a short film the Broken Bells created to celebrate their album release, a little sci-fi romance starring Anton Yelchin and Kate Mara. The full film is available for viewing online (go for it!).

Fever – Black Keys
Here’s another great new track off a new album that I love. Yes, the phone number onscreen throughout the video is a working number.

Rumble – Kelis
I love Kelis’s new food-themed album. An artist perhaps best known for her hit “Milkshake” off her album Tasty who later studied at Le Cordon Bleu, she’s quite the food-loving singer-songwriter! And how fun is it that she operated a food truck at SXSW 2014 to promote her new album? This song doesn’t seem to have anything to do with food, but I’ll take it anyway.

London Thumakda – Labh Janjua, Neha Kakkar & Sonu Kakkar
The Bollywood film, Queen, was released while I was on vacation in India and this music video played on TV a lot. I finally watched the film this month and loved it! It’s about a girl who gets dumped two days before her wedding and decides to go on her honeymoon (London and Amsterdam) by herself. This video shows a festive wedding celebration prior to the wedding getting called off.

Do you have a favorite song of Spring 2014? Share it in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday: BEA 2014

27 May


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature created at the fabulous The Broke and the Bookish, featuring weekly top ten lists on a variety of bookish topics.

This Tuesday is a pick your own topic week and I decided to list the Top Ten Books I Hope to Pick Up at BEA also known as Top Ten Authors/Illustrators I’m Excited to Meet at BEA. I’m only attending BEA on Thursday and Friday this year, but I have quite the line-up those two days. Here are the ten books/authors/illustrators that I’m most excited for:

Benny and Penny
FOR THE KIDDOS
Benny and Penny in Lost and Found by Geoffrey Hayes

    Date: Thursday, May 29
    3:30 pm – 4:30 pm
    Location: 2857

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen (illustrator)

    Date: Friday, May 30
    3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
    Location: Table 1
    (Jon Klassen signing)

Rupert Can Dance by Jules Feiffer

    Date: Friday, May 30
    11:00 am – 12:00 pm
    Location: Table 13

Brown Girl Dreaming
FOR THE TWEENS
The Giver by Lois Lowry

    Date: Thursday, May 29
    & Friday, May 30
    11:30 am – 12:30 pm
    Location: 1657

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

    Date: Friday, May 30
    2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
    Location: Table 18

Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

    Date: Friday, May 30
    11:00 am – 12:00 pm
    Location: Table 2

Glory O'Brien
FOR THE TEENS
Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King

    Date: Thursday, May 29
    11:30 am – 12:30 pm
    Location: Table 15

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

    Date: Friday, May 30
    1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
    Location: Table 3

The Young Elites by Marie Lu

    Date: Friday, May 30
    10:00 am – 11:00 am
    Location: 1521

The Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

    Date: Friday, May 30
    3:45 pm – 4:45 pm
    Location: 2638

Edit: Let’s make this a Top Eleven list! We listed Adele Griffin’s The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone as an “honorable mention” – i.e. an ARC that we were interested in that wasn’t tied to a signing, but it turns out Adele Griffin will be there! Thanks to Soho Press for the update!

The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone by Adele Griffin

    Date: Friday, May 30
    3pm-4pm
    Location: 2946

Honorable Mention (no author signing, but an ARC I would love to get my grubby hands on): The Doubt Factory by Paolo Bacigalupi.

Are you attending BEA? If so, what books/authors/illustrators are you most excited to cross paths with? Hope to see you there!

Giveaway: Touching the Surface and Send Me a Sign

23 May

Each year on the first Saturday in May, my local school district hosts the Hudson Children’s Book Festival, a wonderful event that brings young readers together with outstanding authors and illustrators. This year, I had the pleasure of hanging out with booth buddies Kimberly Sabatini (who I first met a couple years back at a Hudson Valley YA Society event) and Tiffany Schmidt, who are both so friendly that I decided to buy copies of their debut novels to share with one lucky visitor to Love YA Lit.

KimberlyAndTiffany

Kimberly’s debut novel, Touching the Surface, is about a young woman who finds herself dead for the third time and realizes that before she can move on to the great beyond she’ll have to reconcile issues with her past life. (Oh yeah, and there’s a love triangle and the cover is super pretty.)

Tiffany’s debut novel, Send Me a Sign, is about a popular teenager who is diagnosed with Leukemia during the summer break before senior year and decides to keep her illness a secret from her friends and classmates. She confides in her longtime neighbor and best friend, Gyver, but the sicker she gets, the harder it gets to keep her secret from the rest of the world. (Also a love triangle here and a lovely cover as well.)

Want your very own signed copies of these books? Enter to win below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

One winner will be chosen at random on Tuesday, June 3, 2014 to win a signed copy of Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini and a signed copy of Send Me a Sign by Tiffany Schmidt. One entry per person, US mailing addresses only, 13 years of age or older. Winner will be contacted by email.

Maddie Reviews: Code Name Verity

4 May

Maddie
Note from Em: Maddie and I used to co-host a radio show together where we talked about all the great (and sometimes not great) books that we read. Sadly, Maddie had to leave the radio show last year when she and her family moved several hours away. Luckily she still shares her love of reading and her book reviewing talents with the world! Her reviews are posted on the Bound By Books radio show blog and here’s one of her latest reviews, which I thought you all would enjoy!


CodeNameVerity
Code Name Verity was an amazing and thought-provoking book. As I have said before to those I know (in post-novel babbling disorder), I love fantasy and science fiction, and yet, despite this love, the genres that really GET me. . . the genres that affect me and leave a lasting impact are realistic and historical fiction. Code Name Verity is, I believe, the epitome of why this is true.

This story starts out with the narrative of “Verity”, a prisoner of the Gestapo in Nazi occupied France during World War Two. The time is October of 1943, and “Verity” is a Special Operations Executive for the Allies. She was sent to France to help with the French Resistance, but in the first 48 hours of her mission, she looks the wrong way when crossing the street and someone notices, which leads to her capture. She arrived in France by way of plane flown by her best friend (Maddie Brodatt, an English First Officer with the Air Trasnsport Auxiliary), but their plane is hit by an antiaircraft gun and crash lands. “Verity” gets out by parachuting, but she never finds out what happened to Maddie before she is caught. She (and the Gestapo) can only believe that Maddie is dead. Through torture by the Nazis, she goes on to reveal her story to the captain. She tells much of it through the eyes of her best friend. The book has many, many, many unexpected twists and turns, and has so many delicious spoiling opportunities, I can’t even explain farther than the first 57 pages without giving away something you really wouldn’t want to know.

I loved this book.

It was brilliant. It was historical. It was heart-wrenching. It was heart-warming. . . it was, without a doubt, an illustrious, absolutely stellar novel. I loved the characters – Queenie, “Gloriously daft, drop-dead charming, full of bookish nonsense and foul language, brave and generous”. The one who you would normally think of as the character you hate, but. . . you just. . . can’t. Then Jamie, the favorite brother and subject of Fear Number Three. There was the Bloody Machiavellian Intelligence Officer, who really doesn’t have a huge role, but whose “name” is brilliant. SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer von Linden, the Nazi captain with a soft spot for children. They all resonated with me, in some form or another.

In this book, I also loved the historical aspect. Now, I know that it IS historical fiction, but this book seemed especially well-researched and thought out. It almost felt like you were reading an extremely descriptive biography. I don’t know that much about World War II, but I certainly learned a lot by reading this, especially about how women were involved, specifically in the UK.

This leads me to another thing about this book that I appreciated. It showed a different, less explored point of view. Regarding the second World War, most of the fictional literature that exists is about the Holocaust – or, at least, everything I have come in contact with. This book shows the different perspective of the people actually fighting in Britain. To tell the truth, I have never really thought about that viewpoint.

Finally, this book made me cry. All of the best books that I’ve read make me cry – and they are all historical or realistic fiction. You get so wrapped up in the story, and, as I mentioned earlier, it feels like you are reading a biography. The characters come to life, and it takes a few minutes when you’ve finished to remember that they’re fictional. Code Name Verity really provides some thought (and makes me appreciate my nickname).

I loved this book a lot, but there were a few things that were less perfect. I suppose that the time it took Verity to write her confession novel was a bit unbelievable. Would she really have gotten that much time? Probably not. Also, Verity’s many names were hard to either keep track of or adjust to. Right after you had just gotten familiar with calling her one name, she would introduce another, and you would have to re-order your picture of her in your mind to get familiar with it, just like some of the plot twists in the story. Oh, the plot twists! I sometimes pride myself in predicting what is going to happen in a book, for, really, I am usually right. But in THIS book, I was continually shocked and surprised, marveling at how I really didn’t see some of the things coming. I loved it. Nevertheless, as with the name changing, it got confusing, which I believe can be both good and bad. It is puzzling the first time around, and you may want to reread some paragraphs over again, but in the long run, it makes you want to reread the book. Basically, the quote from the New York Times on the front cover explains it nicely: it’s “a fiendishly plotted mind game of a novel.” I feel that it is one of the books that doesn’t get old very easily, and you can spot something new every single time. Lastly, I suppose the worst thing about this book was that it took me six days to read the first 84 pages. The start seemed very slow, and I kept reading it in little increments. I discovered that you have to start this book when you have a good long time to just sit down and READ. After you get over the initial hump, the plot drags you in, and then you’re glued until the finish.

I would recommend this book to absolutely EVERYONE to read. If you like historical fiction, then this is a must. Its plot, as well as its characters, are well-crafted, and it tells an inspiring overarching tale of friendship that makes you love it to bits. That said, though, you have to have tolerance for descriptions of things you may not know anything about, like wireless operators, Puss Moths, and Nazi officer rankings, so you might want to have an interest in the time period.

So, the bottom line is. . . READ THIS BOOK. It is amazing, thought provoking, and tells a tale of friendship that you simply cannot miss.

Maddie’s Rating: 5 out of 5
Title: Code Name Verity
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion (2012)